The purpose of MecLab® is to provide students an opportunity to learn the practical and theoretical aspects of automation technology. It consists of three separate systems that can be used in combination or as stand-alone stations, sparking student interest in scientific thinking.
MecLab® helps students gain insight into one of the most significant fields of application for automation technology – production technology. The three stations of the mechatronics training system – conveyor, handling, and stacking magazine – are simplified models of typical processes to be found in any automated production plant. Students solve real-world industrial motion control problems. They observe and measure electrical and fluid power laws as they design systems to move, assemble, and sort work pieces within the stations. They gain the ability to design and evaluate production processes and procedures, based on the efficiency of motion and energy conservation.
Stack Magazine Station
The stacking station stores workpieces that can be stamped with the stamping unit. In an automated production line, work pieces are stored and fed into the process in a timed sequence. This is the function of the MecLab Stack Magazine Station. It stores, transfers, and presses each work piece.
In many production assembly lines, work pieces are transported between “process stations” via conveyor belts.
The conveyor station in MecLab provides realistic simulation of an industrial workpiece transport system. The drive motor can be made to run forward and in reverse. Work pieces are detected, classified, and sorted by color.
Whether it’s a simple pick & place operation or highly complex assembly work – handling systems are always involved. The MecLab® Handling station consists of pneumatic cylinders with simple bearing guides and two axes. The work piece is held by a pneumatic gripper. The system can be used to transport the work piece between stations or to join two halves of a work piece.
Expand learning possibilities to microcontroller programming
The MecLab® Interface is an optional component that connects any MecLab® Station to the microcontroller of a Microcontroller Development System TP 1515 (8-bit PIC) or TP 1516 (Arduino).
Using the user-friendly programming software Flowcode, students code a microcontroller to control the station’s components.
Combining microcontrollers with mechatronics applications develops coding skills and creativity, as well as problem-solving and computational thinking capabilities.
Handling the microcontroller device, making connections, coding in a visual environment, seeing cylinders, valves, conveyors, etc. move as their program runs: this boosts students’ engagement and motivation.